Asia goes green
The developing economies of Asia have been recognized for their manufacturing prowess. They have not, however, been known for adoption of sustainable, efficient practices. Recent actions indicate that this stance is changing.
Attendees discussed new technologies at the "Energy Savings Made Easy" seminar in Singapore, which had a surprisingly large turnout .
It has to be said that Asia has never exactly been on the cutting edge of the green movement. And with many of parts of the region–most notably India–still striving for a solid electrical supply infrastructure, it is Asia which will be seeing the bulk of deliveries of very un-green, coal-fired power stations in the next few years.
So on the evening of March 28, 2009, when 88 countries around the world participated in this year’s Earth Hour, and households and businesses
were encouraged to turn off lights and electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness of climate change, it was both pleasing and interesting to see the Philippines rank at the top in Earth Hour’s global participation with an estimated 15 million citizens joining in the great switch-off and saving some 611 MWh of electricity in the process (equivalent to halting 12 coal-fired power plants). Even
Vietnam, where the average wage is around $100 a month, saw electricity demand fall by a respectable 140 MWh during the event.
A number of Asian government initiatives point to a new realization that, in the East, with energy consumption only set to increase over the coming years, a resolute focus on “energy efficiency” (i.e., using less energy to provide the same amount of heat, light, motion, etc.) is needed to mitigate spiraling costs and environmental impact.
For instance, South Korea, which is almost exclusively dependent on expensive imported fuel, recently announced that it will be switching every bulb in every public building to LED by the end of this year. It also aims to be the first country in the world to have a “smart grid” to maximize the efficiency of electricity transmission.
In Malaysia, where the overall energy demand is expected to increase at an average rate of 6.3% per year during the period of the government’s Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006-2010), the Malaysian Industrial Energy Efficiency Improvement Project has been developed to improve energy efficiency in the country’s industrial sector by removing barriers to the efficient use of energy.
And in Singapore this March, the National Environment Agency (NEA) recognized the first two “Energy Smart Retail Malls,” which had successfully implemented energy savings measures to achieve better energy efficiency and lower operating costs. One suburban mall managed to reduce its annual electricity consumption by some 1,200 MWh to realize an annual saving of US$167,000 and 610 metric tonnes in carbon dioxide emissions. In April, the NEA extended mandatory energy efficiency labeling to all refrigerators, air conditioners, and tumble dryers sold in the country.
Manufacturing takes an interest
But it is not just in the consumer-focused markets that Asia is getting greener. The “Energy Savings Made Easy” seminar in Singapore had an unexpectedly large turnout (more than 350 attendees). Organized by regional automation distributor TDS Technology, which represents global brands such as Mitsubishi Electric and GE Fanuc, as well as many homegrown Southeast Asian companies, this energy event showcased solutions such as variable speed drives, energy-efficient motors, and LED lighting systems.
Attracting particular interest at this event was 3T Hypermizer, a young Singapore company. Its product, Hypermizer, is an automatic power controller that supplies the right amount of voltage and current to the driven loads to function optimally. Hypermizer installation has significantly reduced the energy bill for companies such as Fuji Xerox, said CEO Ravinder Singh.
“We are confident that clients can achieve up to 35% energy cost savings,” Singh told Control Engineering Asia . While Hypermizer is currently only available in Asia-Pacific, Singh says he is “eyeing the U.S. and Europe markets, where energy-saving devices are likely to have a good reception.”
According to TDS Technology director Paul Yeo, the healthy attendance at its Energy Savings seminar is indicative of an increasing interest in how energy efficiency technologies can deliver a boost to the bottom line through reductions in metered consumption, which can only be welcome in these times of falling orders and shuttered manufacturing lines. Save money, save the planet. It’s quite an incentive—and Asia is starting to change its color in response.
Bob Gill is the editor of Control Engineering Asia. He can be reached at Bob.Gill@rbi-asia.com .